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VMware innovates CSPs at MWC2022

During Mobile World Congress 2022 (MWC), VMware unveiled several products and partnerships to enable service providers more quickly modernize their networks and monetize new services. This includes innovations in the Radio Access Network (RAN) and the edge.

Among the products highlighted at MWC includes the VMware Telco Cloud Platform, RAN modernization solutions such as VMware RIC as well as VMware’s Edge Compute Stack. VMware RIC is a platform that abstracts the underlying RAN infrastructure and provides developer APIs for xApps and rApps to program the RAN.

Modern service providers are already working with VMware to trial and implement VMware RIC in their network. For example, Vodafone recently completed a proof-of-concept designed to enable more efficient use of spectrum. They ran a new app from Cohere Technologies, the Spectrum Multiplier, on VMware RIC connected to a Capgemini 5G RAN. This resulted in Vodafone doubling 5G spectral efficiency and effectively cell site capacity using Cohere’s xApp intelligence.

According to Muneyb Minhazuddin, Vice President, Edge Computing, Service Provider, and Edge, VMware, when it comes to RAN modernization, service providers are getting into deployment mode. He explained that most of them are already in or planning to transition to vRAN and Open Ran. As service providers consider their options, VMware is working with an ecosystem of RAN vendors to test it as well.

“This is where VMware RIC comes into play. In the Open Ran architectures, a RIC platform is able to host apps that enable these new capabilities such as automation, network optimization, service customization, and such. It can host both near-real-time and non-real-time applications. We are bringing the RAN intelligence to help monetize the RAN which will be a driver for adoption,” commented Minhazuddin.

Disaggregation of the RAN

When it comes to RAN modernization, Vodafone is just one of the many service providers that are moving beyond talk to action. Many are in the process of transitioning to vRAN or Open RAN or have plans to do so.

As there is a myriad of RAN vendors, VMware works with a broad ecosystem of them to test and validate the interoperability of their solutions with VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN. It does this so that service providers do not have to. Instead, they can simply run and manage RAN functions from a variety of vendors on a platform that is built and optimized for the RAN. New updates on VMware’s work with strategic RAN partners include HCL and Samsung.

A VMware partner since 2008, HCL is expanding its portfolio of managed infrastructure services powered by VMware technology to include support for VMware Telco Cloud – 5G Core and VMware Telco Cloud RAN. Samsung has completed testing of its vRAN software (vDU, vCU) on Telco Cloud Platform.

The excitement of RAN modernization is also quite evident in the Asia Pacific region. For Vinod Joseph, Technical Leader & Technology Strategist, Asia Pacific, Japan & China, service providers in APAC also want to run the functions.

He explained that service providers in APAC are looking at how they can optimize their investments and infrastructures that are provided by the hyperscalers. VMware’s multi-cloud innovation provides this common extraction layer for them as the telco cloud platform can run on any environment.

“We can create consistent infrastructure and operation layer that simplifies deployment. We see customers also insisting that other partners build an application that goes through this agile process, to enable deployment from one environment to another. Everyone wants to optimize RAN, and we can see that from in APAC service providers,” added Joseph.

In short, as service providers modernize their networks to use virtual and cloud-native network functions, many are choosing VMware Telco Cloud Platform as the common foundation on which to do so. It lets them take their operations to the next level.

For example, Millicom is working with VMware to unify siloed networks and begin the transition to virtualized and containerized network functions. In Ethiopia, Safaricom has selected VMware Telco Cloud Platform to build out a greenfield network.

The Edge

With enterprise customers actively moving modern app workloads to the edge, they are betting on 5G to accelerate this journey with private 5G as a foundation. VMware is working with several partners to deliver private networking solutions to service providers that they can in turn deliver to enterprise customers.

For example, ASOCS, Druid, and VMware have unveiled a validated design for private mobile networks, enabling enterprise customers to take advantage of more secure, robust, 5G connectivity at the edge. Running on VMware’s Edge Compute Stack, ASOCS CYRUS RAN and Druid Raemis Core, deliver a Private 5G solution.

Additionally, STL, ASOCS, and VMware introduced a 5G enterprise solution offering a powerful on-premises, fully virtualized, and open RAN. Featuring STL’s Garuda, a smart 5G indoor small cell, this solution can be hosted alongside enterprise IT infrastructure on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers, seamlessly blending with an enterprise’s existing infrastructure.

Lastly, service providers are also adding VMware SASE to their portfolio of managed solutions to enable enterprise customers to innovate at the edge.